Las Culturistas JFL42, Toronto ON, September 28

Las Culturistas JFL42, Toronto ON, September 28
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I walked into the live recording of Las Culturistas — a podcast that takes listeners on an "unforgettable journey into the beating heart of culture," which Esquire magazine called "addictively bitchy" — expecting witty banter and a few good laughs. What I did not expect, however, was to walk away having actually learned something. But I did.
 
Matt Rogers (pictured) and his special co-host Dave Mizzoni (sitting in for Bowen Yang) made a lively duo. They had incredible chemistry with their guests, Gregory Brown and Mitchell Moffit, founders of the AsapSCIENCE YouTube channel and Sidenote podcast. As a collective, the four were incredibly knowledgeable about pop culture, and slyly handed out facts and tidbits throughout the recording in a uniquely digestible manner.
 
They opened the recording with banter about their lives — swapping stories about growing up in church, sharing clothes with their partners, and having to debate the merits of gay marriage with their classmates in high school before it was legal (oh, what a time).
 
And while watching the four chat energetically about their lives was certainly entertaining, it was the closing two segments that made the recording shine. In the first of the two, Rogers asked the guests for a piece of pop culture that changed the trajectory of their lives. For Brown, it was Canadian actress and filmmaker Sarah Polley, whose life he knows a shockingly large amount about. And for Moffit, it's Survivor, the reality TV show adjacent to the one on which he starred several years ago, Big Brother Canada.
 
The final segment of the episode took this question and flipped it around. In the Las Culturistas classic "I Don't Think So Honey!" game, each of the four guests was given one minute to "go off on culture," freely bashing a person, phenom, or entity in popular culture that they hate.
 
For Mizzoni, it's the girl he just met at the bar in New York who's desperately hugging him from behind saying, "I love you!"
 
For Rogers, it's Severus Snape, who doesn't deserve the sudden appreciation that came his way in the final two Harry Potter books after spending the first six being an asshole.
 
For Brown, it's Wicked, a play that doesn't age well and is almost always cast entirely white, and for Moffit, it's people who throw their cigarette butts on the ground, a hazard to the environment and human health. And while the segment is meant to be humorous and over-exaggerated, each person made legitimately strong cases against the things they hate, and charmed me along the way.
 
The four podcasters, carried by Rogers' noteworthy candour, were, jovial and entertaining, well-read without being arrogant, and ultimately left me with a stronger grasp of the pop culture I am — and should be — consuming.